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Industry underwhelmed by Autumn Statement

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has labelled the chancellor’s Autumn Statement ‘disappointing’ for doing little to help the waste industry.

“We are becoming accustomed to finding very little good news in the chancellor’s statements and today is no exception,” said CIWM chief executive Steve Lee.

“It’s clear that our industry can expect little support from the Government to deliver its significant green growth and jobs potential.”

CIWM had hoped for greater medium term certainty from George Osborne, left, on the higher rate of landfill to help investors, local authorities and the private sector to support, plan and deliver the necessary services and infrastructure in the future. 

“Lack of money doesn’t have to mean lack of ambition and leadership, but once again the green growth agenda has been largely left out in the cold by the chancellor,” Lee said. “This statement underlines the government’s hands-off approach to the future of this industry and a lack of regard for the role it can play in delivering a more sustainable and low carbon future.”

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) was also disappointed that the industry would now have to wait until the next budget for any clarity on the future landfill tax.

“Without greater certainty over future landfill tax levels, the industry could struggle to persuade investors that the UK is fully committed to the circular economy and won’t return to its wasteful past,” the ESA said in a statement.

It said the next phase of waste infrastructure projects would be more reliant than before on “uncertain commercial and industrial waste streams which will make it harder to finance”.


There was also a lukewarm reaction elsewhere around the industry.

British Property Federation director-general Peter Davis said: “We are disappointed to see no commitment to substantially raise landfill tax to drive waste towards recycling.”

UK Green Building Council chief executive Paul King said: “The emphasis on housing and infrastructure is welcome, but he’s missed an open goal by not recognising the potential for construction to deliver green growth.”

Veolia Environnment’s executive vice-president for the UK and northern Europe, Estelle Brachlianoff, said the reductions offered earlier in the week on household energy bills would help consumers in the short term, but failed to guard against price volatility in the coming years. 

Brachlianoff said: “Commercial residual waste is also a major untapped resource that is currently being overlooked. It is estimated that waste from homes and businesses could provide heat and power for over 250,000 homes in London alone but this means changing perceptions that renewable energy is just about wind turbines and solar panels.”

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